CAPE ELIZABETH — Tia Tardy wasn’t sure what to expect from the inaugural Beach to Beacon High School Mile.

“I had no idea,” said the soon-to-be senior at Mt. Desert Island High. “I just thought it was going to be a normal road race, like the gun goes off and you go.”

Instead, 11 girls and 10 boys from various Maine high schools were in for a treat: music, announcers, flags, individual introductions, honorary starters, a national anthem singer and a few hundred spectators.

“I’m glad I got to be part of the first one,” Tardy said. “I feel really honored to be able to say I was a part of it.”

Tardy and John Hassett, a senior at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, won Friday’s races, breaking the tape of the Beach to Beacon finish line after completing two laps within Fort Williams on a warm and blustery afternoon.

“This is not really about winning,” Hassett said. “It’s about participating and being part of something bigger. Beach to Beacon is the most well-known race in Maine. I’m just honored to be part of it.”

Tardy, who had the fastest female seed time by more than 15 seconds, never trailed in the girls’ race and won by three seconds over Katherine Leggat-Barr of Greely in 5 minutes, 32.31 seconds. Fryeburg Academy junior Emily Carty was third in 5:44.90.

“It was really fun,” Leggat-Barr said. “The atmosphere, with all the little things beforehand, was incredible. You see this on TV before an elite race. It was really cool to be on the line in an environment like this.”

Jordan Hasay, a 16-time NCAA All-American at Oregon making her second appearance at Beach to Beacon, blew an air horn to start the girls’ race. Ben True, the Greely High grad and American 5K road record holder, did likewise for the boys.

Riley Masters, a Veazie native who, like True, now runs professionally, was also in attendance.

“Seeing Ben True and Riley Masters here was like, ‘Oh, my god, this is amazing,'” said Hassett, who drove down from Castine earlier Friday.

Hassett led through most of the first lap before being passed by Falmouth senior Jeremiah Sands as they approached the Captain Strout traffic circle in front of Portland Head Light for the second time and turned left for a gradual incline.

“It seemed super gradual on our warm-up jog,” Hassett said. “But once you got the fatigue of the first lap, that hill was the make-or-break section of that course.”

Hassett broke into a sprint and regained the lead halfway up the hill.

“I felt good, and then the hill came,” Sands said, “and I then I didn’t feel so good.”

Hassett remained in front through the grassy finish area to win in 4:37.35. Sands was three seconds back in 4:40.55. Nick Dall, a Waterville sophomore, edged Bonny Eagle senior Caleb Pendleton for third in 4:54.19.

“All props to John,” Sands said. “He made it interesting.”

Before the races, Beach to Beacon founder Joan Benoit Samuelson and special guest Craig Virgin – both members of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team – carried a torch between the runners with Olympic theme music blaring and two Olympic flags waving.

Virgin spoke of lessons learned in high school track and cross country, and Samuelson spoke of running through Fort Williams – then closed to vehicular traffic – as a Cape Elizabeth teenager.

“Live your dreams and follow your heart,” she advised on the 32nd anniversary of her gold-medal performance in Los Angeles. “Anything is possible with passion, hard work and dedication.”